People don’t want prototypes, they want iPads

“There’s an interesting trend happening in mobile these days. Companies – major companies like Samsung, Motorola, Kyocera, RIM and Microsoft – are launching unfinished, unpolished products and then asking us, the consumers, to buy them based on their “potential,'” Sarah Perez writes for ReadWriteWeb.

“Despite the fact that the new BlackBerry tablet computer has no email client or wide selection of apps, or that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 can’t even multi-task, or that Android Honeycomb is only a few months old and, frankly, still a little buggy, we’re expected to place our hard-earned dollars, and, in some cases, even sign multi-year mobile contracts for these gadgets, based on ‘what could be,'” Perez writes. “Not biting? Well, you’re not alone.”

Perez writes, “Unlike much of its competition, Apple doesn’t launch prototypes or unfinished products. Not surprisingly, it’s a strategy that seems to work.”

Read more in the full article here.

Jason Perlow reports for ZDNet, “Honeycomb, despite all of Google’s efforts to make it an effective competitor to Apple’s iOS is a failure. All the current indications are that the first device to ship with it, the Motorola XOOM, is a complete sales dud.”

“There’s only one problem. The software on the device as shipped is complete and utter beta-level crap,” Perlow reports. “I don’t want this post to be thought of as picking on Motorola. They clearly tried their best with the hardware. The problem is that even they couldn’t fix an OS that is at best beta quality, and quite frankly, I didn’t feel like spending almost $600 to be one of Google’s beta testers.”

Perlow reports, “So after 24 hours of playing around with the device, I decided to return it to Amazon. It’s one thing for Google to run a service like GMail in beta for close to an eternity. But GMail during its beta cycle was and still is a free product for most consumers. However, Android Honeycomb tablets cost money… You expect there to be a certain level of polish and maturity on the software in a $600.00 consumer device. The problem is, there’s nothing at all polished about a Honeycomb tablet.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]

39 Comments

  1. Unofficial Apple Motto is true: It Just Works.

    Physically, tablets are nearly just blank slates. Users add what software they want and away they go.

    But it isn’t easy or lots of companies would be doing it.

      1. Not to mention most other companies were busy wallowing in existing paradigms to realize the true way a tablet should be designed, so Apple had the advantage of time. To make such moves takes bold strokes and Apple seems to be the only company capable of doing that right now.

  2. Not to mention most of these other tablets cost more and aren’t up to par in terms of build and quality and will likely be exposed to viruses, malware, dysfunctional apps etc.

  3. Someone needs to remember their history. The original iPhone shipped without multitasking too. The bulk of her argument is good, but you just look stupid if you make a serious error like this and then hammer the competition for following the same path to market.

      1. While that’s true, the original iPhone wasn’t the only smartphone on the market even then. And some of those other phones had multitasking. I don’t like being in the position of defending Windows Phone. But I do think that making this mistake weakens her argument and makes it appear as if she’s being unfair. And in any case Windows Phone does have multitasking now–if you’re fortunate enough to have one of the vendors that allows updates. (Carrier-enforced fragmentation is really the biggest weakness of WP7 today, not the software so much)

        1. I understand that, but the true point is that the software included seems unfinished. The original iPhone didn’t include multitasking because, according to Apple, they weren’t going to do it until they could do it right. Windows Phone is also competing in a very different arena than Apple was. Apple was competing against the old paradigm by setting a new one. Windows Phone has to compete within the new paradigm.

    1. …because Apple was first to market – there was no competition. And the device worked as advertised, even though it wasn’t as functional as it is now.

      That was four years ago. The competition can’t come out with a product that barely meets a four-year-old standard and expect to do well.

    2. I half agree with you there, but I think her position would be that the iPhone 1.0 was a finished product upon release. That there were features to add later doesn’t mean the released version was a beta development model. It offered a set list of features, and delivered them.
      Once AAPL and others released products with these features, it became the standard. It’s a bit unfair to knock the followers for not having it in their version 1.0 product, but it does give it a sense of an unfinished product. Certain features that are missing rise to such a level that they deserve a knock (witness RIMM’s Playbook’s jerry-rigged email functionality…)

  4. I am a large fan of Apple products. I’ve owned each iteration of the iPhone, several Apple notebooks, a first gen AppleTV, iPad, iPad2 and a several iPods over the years. I wouldn’t trade my iPhone or iPad for any of the other devices out. But it really bothers me how some people think Apple can do no wrong, even when Apple does things similar to other companies.

    1- The original iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. The App Store didn’t open until July 10, 2008.

    2- Microsoft Exchange support didn’t happen until iPhone OS 2 on July 11, 2008

    3- Copy and paste didn’t reach the iPhone until iPhone OS3 on June 17, 2009

    4- Multitasking didn’t reach the iPhone until iOS4 on June 21, 2010

    Seems to me that even iOS was “unfinished and unpolished” at it’s release and for sometime after. Stop TRYING to make Apple devices look better with these “reports”. They ARE better even with these “flaws”.

    1. Rob, by your standards, then OS X is still unfinished and unpolished. iOS is too. Software is going to improve over time (hopefully), new features baked in, some updated with the times. No one gets software right the first time. I’d rather companies update their software then say, there there it is.

      1. I totally agree. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my original post. I was simply using the article’s author’s definition of unfinished and unpolished. I’m completely ok with the steps Apple has taken to update the OS and add features. I don’t think there has been a feature I was upset about not having. They were bonuses when they did arrive.

        1. It’s a matter of expectations and precedence. Apple didn’t invent the tablet, but certainly revolutionized it.

          And now it’s a year later, the iPad has set the bar fairly high. Competitors should expect to equal or exceed its capabilities and not release product until they do.

          Looks like Android and the tablet manufacturers are now reaping what they have sowed.

    2. Unfinished is not the same as feature complete. Unfinished and unpolished refers to stuff that is shipped feeling unfinished and unpolished like beta software. Apple shipped features that had been polished to a shine. They left out features that were not yet ready. That’s completely different.

      1. What he really means to say by comparing the capabilities of the initial release iPhone 3 OS 1.0 to the latest release of Windows Phone 7 is that the Kia Optima is better than the BMW 750 because when BMW first launched the 7 series the initial cars did not have iPod connectors whereas the present-day Kia does. Or that Windows 7 beats the crap out of OS X Cheetah because you know when Cheetah came out it didn’t have Quartz Extreme or Grand Central Dispatch.

        That’s about as invalid as it gets – comparing a present generation product with a first generation product.

    3. Agreed that these features were not available at time of release of these product versions but what the author is saying is that these were not promised to be features of the product at time of product release, unlike the xoom or playbook lacking promised features when released.

    4. This is comparing apples and oranges. The iOS devices you mentioned weren’t “unfinished” or beta. They were complete with the features you would expect at a basic, current-day level. What features they lacked e.g multitasking and copy-and-paste, were arguably not fundamental deficiencies. Lack of support for non-native, external systems such as Microsoft Exchange are common in all competing technological products. iOS still does not support Flash, but that does not qualify it as “unfinished”. Finally, Apps are a completely new Apple-created phenomenon, and to label something that came out before the whole Apps phenomenon was even created as “unfinished” is stretching it.

    5. Actually, the first iPhone did multitask. You could surf and listen to music. You could surf and talk. Al the while timing something with the stopwatch. Multitasking was there. It was just selective (and still is).

  5. Apple gets complaints regarding its first-generation products’ lack of features. “It doesn’t have a camera. It doesn’t do this or that.” But what it DOES, it actually DOES. It doesn’t make promises it can’t deliver on. The next version contains some of the missing features. It is an incremental improvement. This has been a successful way of releasing products that no one else seems to be able to understand or copy.

    1. And by limiting the features on the first-generation product, it simplifies fixing anything that goes wrong. After Apple has experience on what sort of problems to expect and fix, they can add features to a stable foundation.

      Other vendors seem to be looking for the most features, without considering that the interaction between these features may create confusing buggy behavior.

  6. I guess RIM fell flat on its face at its poor attempt at releasing a tablet supposedly to fight in the same boxing ring as the iPad. More like pitching a bantamweight against a heavyweight. I’m surprised Lazaridis hasn’t thrown in the towel yet at this stage of the game.

  7. Really, the same is true of other Google-branded offerings, such as Google TV, that laptop they’re selling (are they still selling it?) the OS that powers that laptop, their foray into directly selling cell phones… It seems a miracle when they offer items like Earth, Sketchup and Voice and they seem to actually work!

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